Negotiation Discovery -
Transform the way you negotiate

Our live Online Events end with a Q&A giving you the opportunity to ask our expert your questions.

While we might not have the opportunity to answer all the questions during the events, we are committed to provide responses to your questions post-event.

Please find our Q&A below:

Q&A - APAC Session

Answers by strategist Tony Monaghan
Is there anything you wouldn’t do to win a negotiation?

This question seems to ask about how unscrupulous someone might choose to be - is it ok to act unethically.


Ethics offer our community a widely accepted set of behavioural standards. These can include what is legal and illegal, cultural norms, principles and values. Every organisation will have their statements on these but the OP (the individual at the table) may make their own choices.


What may be unethical to you may seem ok to the OP. One person’s lie is another person’s bluff. Ethical parameters can be used tactically - ENS always proposes awareness of the OP’s tactics – not taking noble rhetoric at face value, being open-eyed and defensively positioned should someone go against convention or against their word.


An alternate way to answer this question is to consider your personal rules when negotiating - what represents professional standards for you. These might include for example:

  • never offer concessions early in the piece
  • never trade concessions you haven’t planned for


Principles such as these can keep you on track.

A final comment is about being authentic - being you, so that you are thought of as genuine and reliable. Acting “tough” when you don’t feel it, copying others to fit in and so on - people see through that, and this generates mistrust.

What happens if there isn’t enough time for preparation? If you have an immoveable deadline? How do I prioritise what to focus on?

Be crystal clear on how this deadline was created, why it is immoveable. Explore all assumptions.


Understand in measurable terms the losses to the OP and to you if you miss the deadline. Name the losses - face them.


This question also appears to assume significant loss with failure. Deadlines are dangerous.


Without knowing the content involved, it sounds like a defensive strategy might assist, in which case:

  • Prepare your Other Party (OP) - tell them what you can achieve by the deadline and test out whether partial compliance with commitments to complete are negotiable.
  • Prepare your stakeholders - use their seniority to overturn the deadline; or to examine wider consequences of a loss to the organisation to manage flow-on effects.
  • Make clear to your other party the shared consequences of loss - damage to relationship, future agreements, and to any third parties that may be affected.


If I’m playing the long game to this question, the answer is about debriefing how we ended up here, with so little time. We must improve our internal processes / resourcing.


Finally, there are a few ‘quick prep’ strategies. For example, if your boss calls you into “My office, now” – do a quick mental check: Ask yourself: What’s the outcome; and what are “Their Needs; My Needs; Common Ground” – 4 soundbites to cling to.


If you’re waiting in the lobby to be greeted, arrive early and brainstorm (no filter) all the questions you can think to ask.

Please give an example of how you pave the way?

This question was asked (I think) in response to arrogance / chronic self-interest being the most common shortcoming that people on the call experienced in negotiations.


'Paving the way' was mentioned as part of ‘preparation’ offering some strategic way to soften the ground leading up to arrogance in the formal settings. Think of this as creating informal opportunities to influence prior to the first formal meeting.


With arrogance, you might consider:

  • proposing a draft agenda, hinting at the collaborative tone/spirit that “seems to work well”.
  • which issues have the most heat and sequence the agenda to suit – ‘first’ if you don’t plan to contest it (just agree, move on); ‘not first’ if its contentious. Either way restrict their time and platform – all scheduled before you meet.
  • offering a low-cost concession (that gives them their need for recognition) in exchange for a goal of yours
  • playing up to their self-importance, pander to their ego prior to the meeting, so they don’t feel they have to compete for it in the formal space.
  • inviting seniority, expertise or ‘cheer-squad’ to the meeting as counterweights.
  • lastly, ignoring their arrogance, and simply focusing on the common ground.


Finally, remember that arrogance does not automatically win. It’s an attitude of perceived power, not actual power, truth, authority or majority.

Q&A - Europe Session

Answers by strategist Melanie Lilley
If I get into the formal negotiation and realise that I have missed some key elements of preparation is there anything I can do, or is it too late?

Ask what their needs are then overlay with your needs, the overlap is where Common Ground starts.


Always begin by looking at their needs so you keep your mind open and don’t influence with your own wants, needs and solutions.

What can I do if the other party want to skip the getting to know you stage and get straight into the pointy end of the negotiation?

Keep using collaborative language for as long as you can before the conversation gets down to business (differentiation).


So, keep talking about ‘our joint venture, our goals, our need to move this project along together, how can we resolve this’, and so on.

What happens if during the negotiation it doesn’t feel like we’re getting anywhere close to mutual respect?

Get into your Process Helicopter (and out of content) and review what has happened in the process to initiate this.


What unspoken personal needs are not being met? Do they feel that they deserve more respect; are you moving too quickly/slowly; not getting enough recognition, likely to be adding to their workload for example?

Q&A - Europe Session

Answers by strategist Carrie Gallant
How do I know if I am prepared and have a deep enough knowledge of the other party?

Good preparation is what keeps you from being taken by surprise. For some (but not all), "too much" preparation can lead to "analysis paralysis". In this sense "too much" likely means your preparation is too rigid. For example, if you prepare a set script of what to say and when, you might be surprised when the other party does or says something that is "off-script", and get flustered. Good preparation includes considering the various ways the other party may respond, as well as the various ways that they might be able to meet your needs - i.e., the various options you might be willing to offer them. 


Consider preparation an initial as well as an ongoing event. When you learn something new, especially about the other party, their objectives or motivations, you can return to your initial preparation and tweak it, update or improve it based on your new knowledge or understanding.

What can be done if it feels like it’s all taking too long to prepare?

First, ensure your preparation has covered the three steps in the ENS quick preparation guide:
1. What are their needs?
2. What are our needs?
3. Where is the Common Ground? 


Second, start testing any assumptions you have made in your preparation by meeting with the other party as early and as often as possible. Consider the best mode of communication when "meeting early" with the other party - would email, direct message, or a virtual/Zoom or in person meeting have more influence?  


Third, adapt your preparation and actions accordingly, always moving in the direction towards your outcome goals, both short- and long-term.

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